Lighting up the World!
Jesus made a statement in Matthew 5:16 that should help us realize how glorious and remarkable it is to be a Christian. He told us, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.”
Exactly what did Jesus mean when He said to let our light shine? He simply meant that the lifestyle and behavior that we display to others is our light. Our light shines when we act or react in ways that are consistent with Christ (His teachings and His ways), which is in contrasts with the world and its ways.
Jesus said He is the Light of the world (John 8:12). As we read and study the life of Christ, we see that Jesus’ life contrasted sharply with the lives of the Pharisees and other religious leaders. His light shone brightly, and the people could easily see it in His actions and they could hear it in His words.
Through Jesus Christ, we have not only received light, but we have been made light. We have become transmitters of light to fallen mankind. Jesus did not say, You are the light of the Church. He said, You are the light of the world. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are placed into the Kingdom of Light. Therefore, we are to live in a way becoming of that position and not as if we were the children of darkness. We are to live in such a way that people will be attracted to God, just as tourists are attracted to the Northern Lights. The light within us should be shining daily through the darkness in the world.
We know that we are followers of Christ, but some may still wonder how do we shine our lights in this world? Our light is noticed in several ways:
- In the workplace
: People see the difference in you when you are different from the way they are. God expects us to show our light and to be an example by performing our jobs with a spirit of excellence. That is the best witness for Jesus that we can possibly give in the workplace because most people today are not giving their one hundred percent on their jobs. Christians should do everything as unto the Lord and be honest and reliable on the job. Then, our work performance will truly be noticed by both our co-workers as well as our employers.
- In our response to others: Jesus commanded that we love one another (1 John 13: 34-35). It was the second great commandment of the Law of Moses (Leviticus 19:18). However, this commandment had been so corrupted by Jewish traditions that it was considered new to those hearing it. Laws of revenge and retaliation and self-love were so common that the law of brotherly love was obsolete. Jewish religious leaders taught that to love one’s neighbors simply meant to love those of your own nationality and religion. These leaders taught that Jewish people were not obligated to love Gentiles nor to help them or rescue them if their lives were in danger. Loving others as much as Christ loved others is what made Jesus’ commandment new.
Jesus did not just talk about His love, He proved His loved. He did more than just love those who loved Him. He initiated love rather than to just respond to it.
Godly love is not a shallow sentimental emotion that a Christian tries to “work up”in order to get along with others. It is an attitude of the will that reveals itself in action. Agape, or Christian love, is not an emotion. Christian love is treating others the way God treats us. God loves us when we have done well and when we have not done well. He loves us when we mess up and even when we have done terrible things.
The greatest evidence of our shining light is not in carrying a Bible, going to Church, singing in the choir, or exercising spiritual gifts but in loving others as Jesus did. However, unless the Holy Spirit is permitted to fill our hearts with His love, our carnal nature will dominate. Only when we learn to abide in Christ will His love permeate through us. The more we spend time in fellowship with God and His Word, the more we submit to His will for our lives and the more we will grow in our love for others. Our compassion for others is an accurate gauge of our devotion to God.
- Through our praising God in difficult situations: When we are placed in difficult situations, we must remember that people are watching our reactions. It is during these times that we need to have hearts overflowing with praise and ask God to bring His light into our dark moments. When others ask us how we can go through tough times without falling apart, we can testify to them about God’s goodness to us.
Apostle L. R. Gooden Jr.